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Platinum in Cancer Therapy

New Developments

The platinum antitumor pharmaceuticals of the first generation had the disadvantage that they caused relatively severe side effects. Depending on the particular compound used, nausea and/or adverse effects on various organs could occur. Alleviation was sought by adjusting the dosage or by other measures, such as increasing the fluid intake or administering antiemetics, etc.

For this reason, the search continues for platinum complexes that cause fewer side effects, have a broader spectrum of active properties and also help to overcome the problem of resistance which can build up after repeated treatment.

A large variety of complexes has so far been synthesized and investigated on cells in vitro or in vivo in animal tests. Some of these are already at an advanced stage of clinical testing on patients, such as for example the compounds picoplatin (Abb. 1) and satraplatin (Abb. 2) .


Picoplatin has been examined in a clinical phase III study on patients with small-cell lung cancer and satraplatin has been examined in phase III to treat prostate cancer. However, neither of the pharmaceuticals could achieve approval so far.

New efforts to identify better "platins" are being presented increasingly often at present. One can therefore remain optimistic that further "hits" comparable to the result with cisplatin lie ahead.

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